Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity Conference

During the opening session of the much anticipated mouthful of a conference, “Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity,” the methodic rumbling of a jackhammer nearby seemed entirely appropriate.

The purpose of the conference, and accompanying collection of essays, was “to clear the ground of several crumbling foundations to provide space for more sophisticated discussion of historiography already underway within Jesus studies” (1). As the conference ensued the foundation of historical Jesus studies in the last hundred years, the criteria of authenticity, crumbled away indeed. Or at least that was the conclusion of everyone at the conference.

The collection of scholars at this conference was impressive to say the least. Spearheaded by the mild-mannered Anthony Le Donne and, to quote Barry Schwartz “the destroyer of worlds” Chris Keith, the conference featured presentations from notable scholars including: Dale C. Allison, Jr., Mark Goodacre, Jens Schröter and Loren T. Stuckenbruck, among others. Each scholar presented on why the “authenticity criteria approach” is insufficient for providing access to the historical Jesus.

You can read stream-of-conference blogging from Joel Watts and Mark Goodacre, though Mark is less comprehensive because he kept stopping to speak at the conference. Though I’m not much engaged in historical Jesus studies of late, I had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

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